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the Underlying Numbers: Penguins vs. Avalanche

The Penguins hosted and defeated the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday evening, by a score of 4 to 3.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

After a bad weekend less than seven days ago, with two losses to the Blue Jackets and Devils in as many nights, the Penguins looked pretty bad. Now they've rattled off two wins against Western Conference visitors from Minnesota and Colorado.

Lines and Pairings



Power play goal. What a beauty the Malkin goal was. That setup from Letang is exactly what they need. Basics. Simple stuff. Malkin is just feeling it right now, and I think when he is 'on' there's few who are as fun to watch as he is.

Sidney Crosby. Fantastic pass by Pascal Dupuis to spring him between the dots and a great finish.

Butt goal. David Perron with his second goal in two games. He didn't do much to get this one other than having a butt, but hey, it counts.

Cole Harbour Night. Did you know that Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon are from Cole Harbour?

Crosby and Malkin. You heard it here first, the recipe to fixing the Penguins is Crosby and Malkin both scoring in every game.

Matt Cullen has been so good. Just quietly doing his thing as a depth player.

Unrelated to this game, the rest of the Metropolitan Division was shit last night. The Flyers, Rangers, Blue Jackets, and Capitals all lost. Happy day.


Squandering a 4-1 lead. Having a 4-1 lead and finishing the game and winning 4-3 is less than ideal, but a win is a win.

Uncalled interference. Holy shit, there is so much of it.

Cody McLeod is a pissbaby. An intentional elbow to the face of Sidney Crosby and then he boarded Adam Clendening. What a guy.


Avalanche Penguins
Goals 3 (Duchene, Barrie, Duchene) 4 (Perron, Malkin, Kunitz, Crosby)
Shots on Goal 31 30
5v5 Corsi For Percentage 47.4% 52.6%

Despite the two goals in the third period by Colorado to make the game close, the Penguins really ramped it up in the third, which is a nice change of pace and a nice thing to see.


Even Strength Shot Attempts

A massive amount of blocked shots that Colorado attempted from close range. That's eight or nine just in the scoring area that could've made things more difficult on Fleury. Aside from those, not much else threatening at 5v5.

Power Play Shot Attempts

A functioning power play with a lot of shot attempts, all from the danger and high-scoring 'home plate' area. What a world.

Shot attempt charts provided by War on Ice.

5v5 play pretty even in terms of Expected Goals. Special teams though, baby. I love it.

Expected Goals map provided by Don't Tell Me About Heart.

A refresher of the key for these charts (except the diamonds are now circles)

More information and description/analysis of Expected Goals can be found here on Hockey Graphs.

In the previous post here using these charts for the first time, I mentioned how it factors in things like shot quality. A more detailed list of what factors into that shot quality is below:

Adam Clendening and David Perron having shot attempt differentials against every player from the Avalanche either even against one another or positive numbers is great.

Sidney Crosby, Pascal Dupuis, and Patric Hornqvist got taken to lunch by the Avs top line of Gabriel Landeskog, Matt Duchene, and Nathan MacKinnon.

A basic description on how to read these charts: Cross reference a player from each team, and that box shows how many shot attempts each team had while those two players shared ice time. The + and - are from the home team's perspective.

For a refresher on how to read these charts, a write-up with descriptions of what colors mean, which lines to read, and more: H2H Corsi Chart Primer

H2H Chart via Muneeb Alam from Japers' Rink

Ian Cole and Adam Clendening, oh baby. Also, did Chris Wagner, Dennis Everberg, and Jack Skille even do anything?

5v5 Individual Shot Charts provided by War on Ice

I don't know what to say about Crosby's line putting up 30% numbers against the Avalanche, so we're just going to leave it at that.

Adam Clending and Ian Cole, my word. Raw numbers for the two of them: between 16-20 shot attempts for, and between 4-8 shot attempts against while on the ice. That is good.

Much will be said about Kris Letang being held back by Rob Scuderi. I have an opinion on this. Someone has to play with Scuderi while Olli Maatta is injured. You don't want to bring down Kris Letang, but if you look at it from the perspective that Kris Letang might be the only Penguins defenseman that is capable of keeping Scuderi afloat, without both of their games going into the tank, and it's just a few weeks, I can live with it.

Line-by-line Corsi data provided by Hockey Stats

Two losses against division teams followed by two wins against Western Conference teams. Same old Penguins, right? The Pens have another Western Conference team coming to town, in the San Jose Sharks, tomorrow night.

I hope Paul Martin plays fantastic, and I hope the Penguins win and keep the streak going to 3 games.